My insurance dictated that I had to switch providers, so I recently visited a new medical practice for an appointment. In addition to health history, insurance information, and the usual litany of questions, I was required to acknowledge the medical group’s Patient Code of Conduct.

There were several things I could do that may result in termination of care, including not canceling 24 hours in advance. But what really caught my attention was the list of behaviors that are prohibited, including “physically assaulting or threatening to inflict bodily harm, making verbal threats to harm another individual or destroy property, intimidating or harassing staff or other patients, and making threats of violence through phone calls, letters, voicemail, email, or other forms of written, verbal, or electronic communication.”

Have we really gotten to the point where such obviously unacceptable actions must be put in writing?

Somewhere along the way, someone made the choice to spell out nine unacceptable behaviors and ten prohibited behaviors as a code of conduct for patients. I doubt that the offenders will withhold their rant because of this piece of paper, and it is off-putting for the majority who act in a civilized manner. Wouldn’t it have been more welcoming if the list included ways that they wanted the patients to behave instead of harping on how they shouldn’t?

In any communication, you can expect the worst from people or present your message outlining what is desirable. Opt for assuming the best.

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